The Layup Drill — a NEW monthly column about APIs in sports
By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome to the third edition of The Layup Drill! This month, we have a survivor, kid champs, and the NBA celebrating Chinese New Year.
Yong Chun Kim of Tacoma doesn’t like golf. The 66-year-old prefers snowshoeing in the freezing cold and dealing with the elements of Mount Rainier. Earlier this month, Kim found himself separated from his group after falling down a slope. Kim attempted to regain his footing, but he fell again and was buried in snow.
Kim relied on the survival skills he learned as a soldier in the South Korean military during the Vietnam War. He remained aware and conscious until rescuers were able to find him. He marched in place, sang songs, and thought of a hot sauna to keep warm and occupied. When those efforts weren’t enough, Kim resorted to burning his socks and his money to keep warm.
Finally, after almost 50 hours, rescuers found the avid outdoorsman in a snow cave he had dug to protect himself from the elements. Kim was in good spirits and even took a picture of himself. He didn’t even need to go to the hospital. It looks like the only loss was that he was lighter in the wallet.
Kim is a weekly visitor to Mount Rainier, and his miraculous story of survival has not deterred his love for snowshoeing. He indicated that he would be back soon.
Yao Ming: a cover boy
Retirement is treating Yao Ming well. He opened his own winery late last year and recently posed for the cover of GQ China. As publicity for his newfound passion for wine, Yao let his guard down for the cameras. The GQ pictorial shows Ming playfully trying to put on a tie, lighting a firecracker, and swirling wine in a wine glass.
Apparently, it wasn’t until he was in the NBA that Ming acquired a taste for fine wine. He recalls watching others swirl wine around in their wine glasses before tasting it, a nice practice, he thought.
Personally, I enjoy tasting wine over swirling it around.
NBA celebrates Chinese New Year
Even though Yao Ming is no longer playing for the NBA, the league is very popular in China. Looking to capitalize on its popularity, the NBA held a week-long Chinese New Year celebration in honor of the holiday.
The promotion culminated with two special games that had many in-game features celebrating Chinese culture, such as tai chi demonstrations, calligraphy, ping pong, and Chinese Lion Dancers.
The first game in D.C. had the Washington Wizards playing the Golden State Warriors. The Wizards’ arena is located in the heart of D.C.’s Chinatown. In the second game, the Golden State Warriors played the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The second game was held in the Bay Area, which has a huge Asian population. Both television broadcasts were aired live in China.
MMA in India
Last year, we reported that investors were excited about the possibility of an American Football League in India.
Now, a start-up group is bringing mixed martial arts to the country. Known as the Super Fight League, the company touts being the first professional MMA league in India.
Its first fight card this March features super heavyweight and former University of Washington football player Bob Sapp in its main event.
As the familiar Whitney Houston song goes, “I believe the children are the future.” The Layup Drill recognizes some kids doing extraordinary things.
Jason Alani of Hawaii won the NFL Punt, Pass, and Kick contest for 9-year-olds. The Hawaiian native and a fan of the San Diego Chargers, Alani beat out 39 other young athletes to win his division. Alani earned a trip to Baltimore for an on-field presentation during the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans playoff game. No word whether Alani has been offered a football scholarship yet.
Nathan Chen of Salt Lake City, Utah, is a dominating force on the ice. The 12-year-old won the Juniors 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. This goes along with his 2010 and 2011 titles in the Novice division. Chen began ice skating when he was 3 years old, as he watched his brothers play hockey.
Karen Chen won the girls’ Junior U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January. Despite two difficult routines in which she didn’t feel she did her best, the 12-year-old won the gold medal. Don’t be too hard on yourself Karen.
Enjoy placing first.
Six-year-old Felix Chang of Falls Church, Va., won first place in the Crown Dixie National Wrestling Championship.
Chang is well on his way to a spot on the U.S. Olympic Amateur wrestling team.
Wrecking Machine in for repairs
Speaking of amateur wrestlers, former college wrestling national champion and current UFC star Mark Munoz is going through tough times. All set to fight in the co-main event of the UFC’s second-ever showing on Fox network television, “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” suffered an elbow injury less than two weeks prior to the fight. He had to pull out and undergo surgery to repair his damaged elbow. Munoz was in good spirits after the surgery though and is positive toward making a return. He even documented his surgery on Twitter and posted a video of himself getting his stitches taken out.
Maybe he got the idea from fellow-MMA star Philippe Nover, who posted a video of himself on YouTube taking fluid out of his swollen elbow with a needle.
Rest assured, Munoz was at his doctor’s office, but I am not a fan of posting medical procedures online. Hopefully, we’ll see Munoz back on television soon.
Tennis stars go down under in Australian Open
Chinese tennis players didn’t fare well down under in the first grand slam event of 2012. Chinese superstar Li Na and Jie Zheng were ousted in only the fourth round of the Australian Open. Na, the former number one tennis player in the world has dropped down to ninth place. It’s still early in 2012, and there are three more grand slams to improve on.
Three APIs make Power 100
Bloomberg Businessweek Top Power 100 Sports Ranking came out last week. It features the biggest and most important figures in sports. The rankings are based on measures of performance, popularity, and marketability.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu came in at number 20. Manny Pacquiao was at number 28, and Apolo Anton Ohno rang in at 65.
For those wondering, three quarterbacks topped the list. Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady were ranked one, two, and three, respectively.
No Asian women on the list? It’s surprising that neither Li Na nor Yani Tseng made it.
While Manny Pacquiao landed at number 28 in the Power 100, rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. came in at number 49 on the list. Mayweather recently offered Pacquiao $40 million to fight on May 5. The problem is that the $40 million is not a 50-50 split of the potential money. Also, it leaves out any money earned from tickets and pay-per-views.
Wow. There is so much money that both sides would be crazy not to put this fight together. Well, it looks like both sides are crazy because, as of this date, it doesn’t look like the fight is happening this year. (end)
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.